The Faith of Adam in Paradise. Imagining Original Justice with Aquinas

Piotr Roszak

Nicolaus Copernicus University

The description of paradise in Aquinas’s theology is based on the category of rectitudo, which points to the state of a man living in what is called “original justice” in a realistic, not merely symbolic, way. Due to its temporality and non-definitive nature, Paradise is a time that assumed the necessity of final salvation. Therefore, the Adam’s faith in Paradise is necessary as a manner of reaching heaven. His sin changes the way or circumstances the human being reaches it, but not the goal itself. In this context, Aquinas looks at the relationship between the natural and moral order and Adam’s perfection before the Fall, which is relational (perfection at a given stage of development), not absolute. The paper will present Aquinas’s description of Adam’s way of knowing God in Paradise (which was not the beatific vision), the nature of his faith before the Fall, and its relationship to emotions and virtues. It will also refer to Aquinas’s thoughts on why the “old creation” was needed at all, rather than the “new” being established immediately. Finally, a question will be asked about the aspects of the Thomisitic description of Paradise that may be still attractive to contemporary theologians, in reference to modern science.

Piotr Roszak is a catholic priest of diocese of Toruń (Poland), a full professor at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland and its vice-dean responsible for research strategy. He is also an associated professor of Systematic Theology at University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain; ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of St Thomas Aquinas; editor-in-Chief of the journal ‘Scientia et Fides’, co-directed with CRYF (Navarra), devoted to dialogue between religion and science; and the director of the series ‘Scholastica Thoruniensia’, where the polish translations of medieval biblical commentaries are published. He is a member of the Society of Catholic Scientist. Together with prof. Sasa Horvat he is developing a Templeton grant on theodicy and evolutionary biology.

This talk is part of the conference “The Origin of Life and Nature Before Sin: Scientific and Theological Perspectives”, which took place at the Angelicum on 1-2 April 2022. Click here to download the conference brochure.